Sunday, January 22, 2012


I have a terrible, awful cold. I think it's the flu, actually. (I love the word "influenza," by the way.)

I'm still woolly-headed and nauseous, but it was a thousand times worse on Thursday and Friday. Thank goodness for Lunar New Year, which means that I don't have to go to work until Wednesday.

My refrigerator amuses me right now. Inventory:

- Oriental herbal medicine.
- One chunk of very sharp Cheddar.
- One chunk of aged Gouda.
- One quarter wheel of Stilton.
- Six apples.
- Twelve clementines (tangerines?- whatever 귤 translates to).
- Spam.
- Tofu.
- Eggs.
- Chocolate.
- Rice porridge.

What a weird list, I think. Anyone would come in and immediately assume I wasn't Korean- that's an indecent amount of cheese (which I brought with me from the States- don't judge me, there's no good cheese here!).

So, so ill. I'm attempting to clean a little, between bouts of wooziness.

Anyway, here's hoping that my health kicks up a notch once the new year starts (tomorrow)!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 (Or, The Year I Turn 30)

(Actually, in Korea, I'm already 31. But in the States, I turn 30 in June.)

It's 2012, and it's already halfway through January in 2012. What have I been doing without blogging for over a month?!?

Well, in the beginning of December, I moved (from my residential hotel / officetel) into a regular officetel (which means that I have no maid service or furniture, but rent is cheaper and the actual place is nicer). Then, two days later, my mother and I flew back home.

I recuperated from the late nights and working weekends by being completely and horribly jet-lagged for the first week and a half, more jet-lagged than I've ever been in my entire life. I was sleeping odd hours, waking up at two or three in the morning, and then dozing off in the afternoon. Since I knew that I needed to let my body catch up with me and also recover from the many, many hours and I had worked, I gave myself a while before I started running around in California.

After Christmas, my family went to Las Vegas for three days, just to get some R & R and spend some family time away from the house, where there are constant visitors and phone calls (especially during the holiday season).

We got back to L.A. in time for a quiet New Year's Eve (I was in pajamas at 9:00), an early New Year's morning (6:00 a.m.), and then a sudden realization on my part that I had to leave for Korea in just a few days.

There was the inevitable panic, running around to buy things last-minute, realizing that I had bought way too many coats (the weather reports on the Korean news were freaking. me. out.), packing the day that I left, and then running off for a quick dinner with my mother and sister before going to the airport to catch my 11:50 p.m. flight.

Losing a day coming from LAX to ICN always bums me out (I left on Thursday at 23:50 and landed in Korea on Saturday at 06:15, which means Friday was but a distant spot somewhere in the Pacific Ocean), but I generally prefer coming to Korea because I don't get jet-lagged.

Since I had not one stick of furniture in my new place (nor blankets, curtains, or even a spoon), my cousin came over a few hours after I landed (for the record, it was -9 degrees Celsius when I got to Seoul) and we ran around town, buying all kinds of necessities. I still don't have a lot of stuff, but I'm not worried about it- I can survive, for the moment, so that's all I need. I'll find the rest of it in a more leisurely fashion.

After a few days of cleaning the new place and generally adjusting to life back in Korea, the same cousin and I came down to Jeonju, our hometown (both my parents are from this city, and it's the city where I was born). We arrived yesterday and are leaving tomorrow.

I'm at my maternal grandfather's house, a newly built townhouse in the "countryside" of Jeonju (it's only about a ten minute drive to "downtown"). I like the new place, I like that it's on a mountain and there are no apartment buildings in sight. I do not like, however, the new dog, which I met for the first time yesterday. She is a large white Jindo, and I am not a fan of large dogs in general, but particularly large dogs that bark like their tails are on fire when they see me.

I went to see my paternal grandmother today, and got back not long ago. I'm wearing a North Face jacket inside the house, because apparently, I am cold-blooded and not as easily able to control my internal body temperature as hardy Korean folk that have been weaned on ice water and barefoot walks in the snow.

I'm a little tired, as I usually am when I see a bunch of people (family is tiring, even if I love them to death). I also have a hard time living with other people, especially people that I am not used to living with. There are only five of us in a rather large house, but I still feel a little crowded. I'm using my (new MacBook Air) laptop as a shield this afternoon, until it's time for dinner.

It's funny, but leaving LA felt like leaving home. Upon landing in Korea, though, it felt like I was arriving home. Residing in Korea has given me a whole new perspective on my Korean-Americanness.

Being away for a month has actually had an impact on my Korean, which was quite good back in December. It hurts my head a little bit to be here, speaking in Korean 100%, which I suspect will dissipate soon enough. I start working on Monday, and once I get into the swing of things, I'll settle down.

Once I settle down, blogging will most likely go back to normal. Excuse me while I try to go find a way to heat my blood without singeing my skin off...